Online vigilante SMRT Ltd (Feedback) setting their sights on Data Register Pte Ltd
Is this going to be a showdown before we call 2014 a day?
Singapore’s one and only online vigilante, SMRT Ltd (Feedback), has publicly declared that they have their eye on Data Register Pte Ltd, a Singapore company that was previously in the news earlier this year for causing mass confusion to business owners who wrongly assumed the company is a government entity.
This comes barely a month after the vigilante group sussed out unethical shop owners in Sim Lim Square, which subsequently led to a purge by the authorities.
SMRT Ltd (Feedback) has a reputation of making good on their threats, especially at times when there is perceived inaction on the part of the authorities. It remains to be seen if this will be a showdown before the year is up.
To cue you in on the antics of Data Register Pte Ltd, read the primer below:
What is Data Register Pte Ltd?
Although this has been reported before, it is worth repeating:
Some time in late 2013, an entity that calls itself “Singapore Company Register” emailed or sent physical letters to companies in Singapore requesting them to verify their company details with it.
And that was the start of a mass confusion for business owners in Singapore, who wrongly assumed Singapore Company Register is a government-linked entity.
This is because the letter or email sent out — not only bearing official-looking letterheads — claims that companies will have their information deleted from the “Singaporean Company Register database” within a week of the date of the notice, if they failed to register.
Here’s the catch: The letters sent out were designed to look like official letters sent by the authorities and companies that registered with Singapore Company Register will then have to pay an annual $490 subscription fee.
This caused even more massive confusion and a lot of angst as payment was requested.
In Nov. 19, 2013, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), very uncharacteristically, had to issue an alert against “Singapore Company Register”, saying it has no links whatsoever to that company, and is investigating the matter.
The Straits Times even reported the news with this headline: “ACRA warns of fake entity asking companies to verify their details”
Within two months, on Jan. 24, 2014 it was reported that ACRA had brought 78 charges against Data Register for misleading companies into giving information.
By this time, however, Company Register Pte Ltd had changed its name to Data Register Pte Ltd.
But both companies have the same company registration number: 201327463M.
Up till that point early this year, ACRA had received over 2,000 queries from members of the public in relation to the emails and letters that companies had received from Data Register.
The last major development of this story was in June 2014, when ACRA informed a blogger that the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) is investigating Data Register.
But this was after the blogger received a lawyer’s letter from law firm Rodyk & Davidson, demanding the removal of a blog post and a request for a public apology, after she wrote that Data Register “is a fake entity and threatens recipients of its letters”.